Borrow the kit!

Storm Drain Stenciling

 Photo by
Amanda Locke


On June 18, 2004, Four Rivers Charter School seventh graders stenciled about 50 stormdrains downtown Greenfield. Using stencils, they spray-painted the pavement in front of stormdrains with the message “ DON’T DUMP - DRAINS TO GREEN RIVER” to remind the community that anything that goes down the storm drain goes into the river untreated. The seventh graders also built a storm drain stenciling kit for the community to use. This kit contains all the materials necessary to spray-paint a number of storm drains and includes an instruction manual. The stenciling kit is now stored at the Connecticut River Watershed Council on Bank Row.

Marie-Francoise Walk from the Deerfield River Watershed Association gave the students the idea of storm drain stenciling. With help from their science teacher Mandy Locke, the seventh graders planned out the project for which the students wrote and recently received a $300 grant from the Franklin Community Action Corporation Youth Council. The students all figured out how much the materials for the kit would cost and then wrote the grant accordingly.

The students say their project is important because the stencils let everyone know about the amount of pollution going into the river and “messing up” the ecosystem. Contrary to popular belief, storm drain water does not pass through the wastewater treatment plant, it empties directly into the river, carrying with it anything that gets washed or dumped into the drains. John Zarcone, one of the participating students, points out, “The Greenfield Swimming Recreation area was closed down last summer because of too much pollution” If people care as much as these students do, we can decrease the amount of pollution going into the river. By making the stenciling materials available in a kit, these middle school students are making it easy for other people to get involved and follow their lead. “The river is a community place and if it is polluted, the animals will die and we won’t be able to swim in it,” wrote Zak French in the grant proposal.

When you notice the stencils, remember, it is telling you not to dump anything down the storm drains you wouldn’t like to swim in. You can make a difference:

• Never pour motor oil, anti-freeze, paint, pesticides, herbicides, and any other house hold trash down the drains.
• Do not dispose pet wastes in storm drains.
• Do not over-fertilize your lawns and gardens. The extra washes off in rainstorms.
• Put litter into garbage cans, never into storm drains.
• Wash your car on gravel, grass or other permeable surfaces that allow soapy water to be filtered into the ground.
• Borrow the storm drain stenciling kit from Connecticut River Watershed Council and stencil the drains on your street.

To borrow the storm drain stenciling kit contact: CRWC (phone # 413-772-2020)

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Revised 10/27/04 by MF Walk DRWA HOME